fumble encodes a pantothenate kinase homolog required for proper mitosis and meiosis in Drosophila melanogaster. Academic Article uri icon


  • A number of fundamental processes comprise the cell division cycle, including spindle formation, chromosome segregation, and cytokinesis. Our current understanding of these processes has benefited from the isolation and analysis of mutants, with the meiotic divisions in the male germline of Drosophila being particularly well suited to the identification of the required genes. We show here that the fumble (fbl) gene is required for cell division in Drosophila. We find that dividing cells in fbl-deficient testes exhibit abnormalities in bipolar spindle organization, chromosome segregation, and contractile ring formation. Cytological analysis of larval neuroblasts from null mutants reveals a reduced mitotic index and the presence of polyploid cells. Molecular analysis demonstrates that fbl encodes three protein isoforms, all of which contain a domain with high similarity to the pantothenate kinases of A. nidulans and mouse. The largest Fumble isoform is dispersed in the cytoplasm during interphase, concentrates around the spindle at metaphase, and localizes to the spindle midbody at telophase. During early embryonic development, the protein localizes to areas of membrane deposition and/or rearrangement, such as the metaphase and cellularization furrows. Given the role of pantothenate kinase in production of Coenzyme A and in phospholipid biosynthesis, this pattern of localization is suggestive of a role for fbl in membrane synthesis. We propose that abnormalities in synthesis and redistribution of membranous structures during the cell division cycle underlie the cell division defects in fbl mutant cells.

publication date

  • March 2001